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Broad Town White Horse

Broad Town, Wiltshire

Featured Location Guide

This west facing horse is one of the smaller ones but is on a steeper hill than most and the viewpoint you have from the village, especially through a gateway opposite the village school is very good.

It is now well maintained, but this was not always the case. This horse was nearly lost at one time, and this was the nearest of the white horses to where I grew up in North Wiltshire, and  I remember visiting it when it was very difficult to find. In 1991 the Broad Town White Horse Restoration Society was formed, and they restored the horse and continue to regularly scour it.

Although visible for a number of miles, its not seen by as many people as most as it is away from any major roads. I must admit I haven't visited many of these villages since it has been so well maintained. From the top of the hill you have really good views and in the past I took groups of teenagers there to teach them map reading, as a part of the Duke Of Edinburgh award scheme.

There are three versions as to how this horse originally came about:-

I have seen, "It is on land which once belonged to Little Town Farm. According to Rev. Plenderleath, writing in 1885, it was cut in 1864 by a William Simmonds, who held the farm then. Simmonds claimed later that it had been his intention to enlarge the horse gradually over the years, but he had to give up the farm and so did not have the opportunity. It is difficult to imagine exactly what he had in mind; take a drawing of a horse and expand it by enlarging the outline, and the more one enlarges it the less the result resembles the original."

Also that,  "A letter appeared in the Morning Post in September 1919 from the curator of the folklore section of the Imperial War Museum, who stated that in his childhood in Wootton Bassett in 1863, he visited with another fellow across a great valley to the cliff on which the horse is cut. When we got there, we set to work with a number of tools which we had brought to ‘scour the white horse.’ He also states that the horse was about fifty years old."

The third is that it was cut 1896 by Mr Horsey, Horsley or Hussey .

It may be that it was lost or nearly lost and recut a number of times or that the 1864 version is correct, and that the museum curators letter was referring to visiting the Hackpen White Horse only a few miles further along the same road which was cut earlier. The Mr Horsey story could be a version from the story of how Mr G Gee was responsible for cutting the Westbury Horse.

Further information Grid



Broad Town White Horse, Wiltshire

Ceremonial County: Wiltshire

Grid Reference:


Map Link:

Ordnance Survey SU098783

Aerial photo:




Best Times to Visit:

Any time






Other useful websites:


Nearby Locations: Hackpen White Horse
Other Relevant pages:

Introduction to hillside figures

How to photograph hillside figures

Listing of hillside figures



Planning Grid


Broad Town White Horse, Wiltshire

Grid Reference:


Getting there:

The white horse is on a steep slope half a mile north east of the village. When going from Wootton Basset towards Marlborough look on the left, a good viewing point is through a gateway opposite the village school.


This is probably the most difficult horse to visit, due to the steep slope it is on.

A footpath runs along from the main road near the top of the hill out of the village towards Marlborough. Other footpaths are from other directions, including the village of Broad Town.

The Restoration Society asks "Would visitors not climb the steps below the Horse as they are dangerous and are only to be used when the Horse is being maintained. The land is private and no responsibility for any accident can be accepted."


Not a problem in the village, no or few restrictions, difficult at the top of the hill.



Things To Do, See and Photograph:

White Horse, views if you go along the top path.

What to take:


Nature highlights:

Country location







Opening times:

All times



Photo Restrictions:


Other Restrictions: None
Special Needs Access: Easy to see from road going up the hill, difficult to get too, on one of the steepest if not the steepest slope.
Special Needs Facilities: None
Children Facilities: None
Dogs Allowed: No restrictions

Please let us know any other information that we can add to the Further information and Planning Grids or page and any errors that you discover. Before making a long trip to any location it is always wise to double check the current information, websites like magazines may be correct at the time the information is written, but things change and it is of course impossible to double check all entries on a regular basis. If you have any good photographs that you feel would improve the illustration of this page then please let us have copies. In referring to this page it is helpful if you quote both the Page Ref and Topic or Section references from the Grid below. To print the planning grid select it then right click and print the selected area.

Please submit information on locations you discover so that this system continues to grow.


By: Keith Park Section: White Horse & Hillside Features Key:
Page Ref: broad_town Topic: Hillside Last Updated: 01/2012


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